Bronco Mendenhall. Courtesy of VBHits1979.

Credit David Hale of ESPN for answering a question that has confounded many of University of Virginia football fans since last December.

Whatever happened to Bronco Mendenhall?

Although his original plan was to lead a 6-6 UVa team to play in the Wasabi Fenway Bowl on Dec. 26, the Cavaliers withdrew from postseason play as the result of a coronavirus outbreak.

A 29-24 loss to Virginia Tech in the final regular season game dropped the Cavaliers to 6-6 and Mendenhall announced on December 2 that he would be resigning after six seasons as UVa’s head coach.

Days later, (December 10) Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott was named head coach.

Hale reports that Mendenhall and his family have moved to Montana, along with the horses he was raising in Charlottesville. 

At 56, Mendenhall hasn’t written off the possibility of coaching again, according to the ESPN piece. 

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Local angle

Jen Hoover, a standout basketball player at William Byrd High School in Vinton and at Wake Forest, where she later became the head coach, has joined the coaching staff at Kentucky, 

Hoover, who is in the Wake Forest Sports Hall of Fame, scored 1,728 points in her career and ranks second on the Deacons’ all-time scoring list. As the head coach, she set a school record for wins with 126 victories over 10 seasons.

“We are thrilled to welcome Jen Hoover to the Big Blue Nation as an assistant coach,” Kentucky head coach Kyra Elzy said.

Hoover had been an assistant at Virginia, California, James Madison, VCU, Memphis, East Carolina and Missouri-Kansas City.

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Major League Baseball draft

Virginia Tech outfielder Gavin Cross was taken in the first round of the Major League Baseball draft with the No. 9 overall pick, tops among ACC players. Shortstop Tanner Schobel was selected at No. 68 making the pair the first Hokie teammates selected in the Top 100 in the same MLB draft. Both were juniors in the 2022 season. 

Four UVa players were taken, led by left-handed pitcher Nate Savino, selected in the third round by Arizona with the 82nd pick overall.

He was joined by UVa teammates including left-handed pitcher Brandon Neeck in the ninth round, outfielder Chris Newell in the 13th round and right-handed pitcher Matt Wyatt in the 20th round. Neeck was the lone senior and the other three were juniors.

Pitcher Jacob Watters of West Virginia, who grew up in Bland County, was picked in the fourth round by the Oakland A’s.

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Virginia Tech has taken a football commitment this week from Krystian Williams, a 6-foot-1, 170-pound wide receiver from Collegiate in Richmond who is rated the No. 28 prospect in Virginia by 247 Sports.

The Hokies rank 36th on a list of college football commitments for 2022 according to 247Sports, with 16 commitments to date, all of them three-stars. UVa has 11 commitments, all of them three-stars.


Virginia has taken an oral commitment for 2024 from William Kirk, a heralded left-handed pitcher from Ramsey High School in Saddle River N.J. Will Gerdes, who transferred to UVa after two seasons at Columbia, has signed with San Diego as a free agent. He was 2-0 with a 8.32 ERA this past season.

ACC programs have had seven of the top 25 baseball recruiting classes, according to Baseball America. Miami was tops among the ACC programs at No. 3. Virginia was rated 15th by Perfect Game and Virginia Tech was 28th. 

Doug Doughty has been writing for more than 50 years starting as a high school student in Washington,...